If you’ve ever dreamed of beachfront living with a swim-up bar, 40-foot waterslides, and unique restaurants and entertainment all in your backyard, you just might be in luck.
Crews completed the process of filling in the crystal-clear Beachwalk Lagoon in northern St. Johns County on Monday, July 23, 2018. The 14-acre lagoon contains 37 million gallons of water and will serve as the anchor for the Beachwalk development off CR-210. Developer John Kinsey tossed a ceremonial final bucket of water into the lagoon where residents will soon enjoy swimming, kayaking, paddleboarding or relaxing along the 100-foot wide white quartz beach. Kinsey hopes future residents will be swimming in the lagoon by late August or early September of this year.
Several model homes stand in the busy construction zone, casting a vision for what this coastal master planned community dreams to achieve. The development will host approximately 800 homes ranging from the high $300,000 to more than $800,000 as well as a 348-unit apartment complex.
The lagoon’s south shore will host an upscale shopping plaza bustling with dining, shopping, and entertainment. There’s room for a grocery store, office space, and even plans for a 12-14 screen movie theater. Kinsey’s goal is to create a “totally unique lifestyle” at Beachwalk, “Everything you see in this community will be new and different from what you might see in older communities.” The location couldn’t be better either. Just south of Jacksonville, Beachwalk is a short hop from NE Florida’s historic and cultural attractions and music and sporting events. “It’s 90 seconds from I-95, 60 seconds off of US-1,” Kinsey says.
When asked how he came up for the idea of Beachwalk, the amiable developer laughs. “I’m just crazy,” he jokes. Kinsey’s company has owned the 1200 acre property for over a decade and has witnessed St. Johns County’s astronomical growth. CR-210 is jam-packed with housing developments. St. Johns County ranks consistently as the #1 county to live in Florida and is the 18th fastest-growing county in the nation. This population boom shows no signs of slowing down soon. Kinsey knew that if he wanted to succeed, he would have to get creative, “We said, let’s create a community that is going to be a higher-end experience with the most unique amenity you could do.”
When Kinsey learned about Crystal Lagoons, a Chile based company with US headquarters in Miami, he thought he might be on to something. Crystal Lagoons promises crystalline, manmade lagoons with the ability to transform any piece of land into a beachfront attraction. Crystal Lagoons use 100 times less chemicals than conventional swimming pools and only 2% of the energy used by conventional swimming pool filtration systems. The clean, turquoise water makes for a year-round playground. “If done right, this technology has the potential to be a complete game changer,” Kinsey says.
“There’s no sea weed. There’s no sea lice, no sharks. There’s no Portuguese Man of War. The staff will know you and your kids and it’s a short walk from your house.”
In addition to beachside living, the approximately 20,000 sq. ft. Member’s Only Beach Club will host a restaurant and swim-up bar, large fitness center, multi-purpose room, heated pool, six Har-Tru tennis courts, sand volleyball courts, a playground, kayak and paddleboard rentals, waterslides, and an 18-hole putt-putt golf course.
To his skeptics, Kinsey says, “Here it is!”
“We’re the first ones doing something quite like this and there have been bumps in the road,” he admits, “But the lagoon and beachfront have come together exactly like we hoped it would.”
The Caribbean inspired architecture and laid-back opulence don’t come cheap, though Kinsey points out that prices are similar to other master planned communities in the area.
Residents can enjoy the resort lifestyle every day. Shopping, entertainment, and dining will be open to all. In a county where state-of-the-art amenity centers are par for the course, a crystalline lagoon just may turn heads. North Floridians are curiously watching John Kinsey’s wild dream come to fruition.